Francene, this is exactly what I have been reading and hearing from Toyota and Lexus sudden unintended acceleration victims. Your loved one is far from alone. Drivers' statement are being discounted over and over again. "Pedal misapplication" is "suspected" or stated without any proof at all.
Let me make it perfectly clear. My comment above is made from the perspective of a very concerned advocate of public safety. I'm not connected to lawyers or plaintiffs in any way economically. I am a private individual. However, indeed, my comments on this matter have attracted negative attention from anonymous entities who cite the "driver error" theory using age, gender, or medical status as an excuse for the SUA event. I've always used my real name. I'm puzzled why the "corporate-protecting trolls" can't do the same.
Oddly, the anonymous trolls cite the facts I present as "junk science." There seems to be a well-orchestrated effort to discount the findings of the world renowned experts in order to shield the automaker, in this case Toyota, from close scrutiny where ELECTRONIC sudden unintended acceleration is concerned. This greatly concerns me as "cover-up" comes to mind.
I have posted various comments on the Toyota and Lexus SUA issue in order to stimulate much-needed public dialogue about the current safety standards in the auto industry, particularly in the electronic throttle control system. The lack of strict safety standards in these newer complex systems has me concerned. As someone with a strong science background, I think there are still many tough questions to be answered. I do not wish to be, nor do I wish any of my loved ones to be, the "test pilots" for this complex, inherently-flawed electronic throttle control system software. I did not sign up to be an experimental "guinea pig" and I know no one else has either. I'm certain that Francene is in a state of shock to learn that after-the-fact, her loved one has been such a victim.
I appreciate my comments being taken on the merits of the information presented. Continued inquiry is needed, as any scientist worth his or her salt will tell you, to uncover the critical safety information.
You will not convince me that "driver error" explains these terrifying events described by similarly-affected vehicle owners. The science isn't there to support it. Speculation has no place in this very serious, potentially deadly matter. Coercion of drivers to believe or to state that they experienced pedal misapplication is unconscionable. I know that in one high profile situation a Lexus owner was visited by several flown-in Toyota officials in an effort to "convince" her she was mistaken about the pedal she pressed.
How often is the driver's statement discounted? How often is the lack of MECHANICAL failure the basis for discounting what the driver states happened? More importantly, how well trained are the investigators in these SUA events? Do they possess the skill level to be able to identify ELECTRONIC failures in these complex software-controlled throttle control systems?
There are so many more unanswered questions. As law enforcement speculate or "suspect" potential causes of these crashes and the media reports immediately based on this speculation, it's easy to see that the vehicle drivers' statements are not given due credence.
The bigger picture isn't being assessed. This isn't about simple "driver error." It isn't simply a mechanically-based issue any longer. In the case of the Toyota and Lexus EDR, an expert found inconsistencies and inaccuracies. However, the EDR results have been used to erroneously incriminate the driver, negating his/her experience.
Let's not forget that Toyota has historically and admittedly hidden information. It has admitted to lying. Are we now to accept "driver error" because the automaker tells its customer this is what must have happened...even when he/she knows differently?
Far more needs to be explored in these cases. Period.
But I fail to see the connection between your rhetorical question apparently addressed to Francene and the rest of the paragraph.
Okay, this is the "offending" paragraph that elicited my reaction:
Think of it...the next step in electronically-controlled vehicles seems to be so-called "self-driving cars." Do YOU want to be in a such a vehicle when there is no evidence that strict safety standards, particularly in the throttle control system's software, have been adhered to?
The fact is, what people SHOULD be dreading is not more automation, as much as it is manual driving. Obviously, the control glitches have to be addressed, but adding 2 plus 2 and obtaining 35789 is not the answer either. We should not conclude, from the data obtained so far, that adding more automation in vehicles is a terrible thing.
Because what the actual numbers show is the opposite. Bad as these glitches are, we are far, far worse off with prevalent manual or unassisted driving. That's the bottom line.
"Francene, this is supposed to be a technical forum, right? The numbers simply do not support the notion that manual driving is the safest option. Not by a long shot. "
I agree with you that this is a technical forum. I can see no reason why Francene or anyone would want to disagree with you . But I fail to see the connection between your rhetorical question apparently addressed to Francene and the rest of the paragraph.
In my view, discussion of the possible causes of sudden acceleration should go hand in hand with consideration of the effects of SA incidents. The effects of real world SA incidents should motivate the search for causes. Therefore examples of SA incidents such as the two contributed by Francene, should be grist to the mill of effective discussion and may provide indicators as to cause. Each new incident tabled should be welcomed and then put under the forensic microscope. We should be asking: what can we learn from these and other incidents reported?
You follow with three paragraphs that have points that deserve lively discussion. However, I have failed to find any connection here with what was said by Francene in her post and what you say. Am I missing something?
You end with an exhortation: "...let's get real here." I assume this is not an exhortation to Francene, who seems to me well grounded by the two near-miss SA incidents experienced by her family. So who are you exhorting to "get real here" and what are you exhorting them to get real about?
Electronic Sudden Unintended Acceleration Good on you Honda thanks for being honest."
@Francene: 'Good on you' too.
In my view, each reported Sudden Acceleration incident adds one more piece to the jigsaw puzzle. You have reported:
two incidents in the same RH Drive vehicle
different drivers of significantly different ages and of different sex.
One incident began after slowing down to enter a roundabout, presumably the other incident did not occur at a roundabout.
Both drivers appear to have managed eventually to bring the vehicle under control.
Both drivers were very lucky and survived to tell their tale.
Both incidents have been attributed to driver pedal error by the manufacturer
The manufacturer appears to hav e claimed to have proved that the car never had had a sudden acceleration incident. It would be interesting to know what experiences other complainants have had when reporting sudden acceleration incidents to dealers and manufacturers. Were they believed, or were they given the kind of runaround that Francene's family seem to have been given?
I think it would be better to force the throttle to idle position, under all circumstances, when brakes are applied, than it is to have emergency measures such as pushing in the clutch or messing with torque converter pressure, when the throttle might be at the full open position. That's one good way to tear an engine apart, with full throttle and no load. Such a brake override would be one of those interlock mechanisms that have become ever more prevalent, such as the mechanism that prevents an automatic transmission from being moved out of the "park" position, unless the brake is applied. It always takes hard lessons to introduce these features, and there will always be those who complain, but we don't question them so much after the fact.
As a side note, the throttle at idle position doesn't mean the engine goes down to idle, as long as the car is moving and the transmission is engaged. So there's no issue with things like the power steering hydraulic pump and other similar equipment that needs to stay pressurized when the car is moving rapidly.
There are already cars on the road now that will override driver commands and apply the brakes, if they sense a stationary object dead ahead. So even in the (soon to be considered reckless) era of manual driving, the driver is gradually NOT playing a part as the fail-safe control mechanism.
@Antony: Like space electronics, why not auto vendor employ redundancy concept for this? As electronics is not that expensive, three systems running in parallel will give good chnace of preventing fatality. This will employ judgement of majority.
Yes, a kill switch that is completely independent of the engine control electronics would be feasible. One or two owners are on record as having fitted them. A kill switch should only substantially reduce the engine torque so that the brakes become more effectivebut should not cut off power altogether. A Toyota (USP 4.995,364 Feb 26 1991) shows a sub throttle valve in series with the main throttle valve which is independently controlled and "takes over" if the main throttle goes uncommanded to the open position. Some high performance cars have a "slam shut" valve in series with the main throttle that operates in conjunction with the ABS system. Another possibility might be a pressure relief valve in the torque converter to increase the slip and hence reduce the transmitted torque. A vehicle with a manual gearbox already has a fail-safe in the clutch. It is salutary to think that in the modern automobile it is the driver who is the fail safe for the throttle electronics, rather than vice-versa!
It obvious that you haven't had the pleasure of being in one of these death traps!
Francene, this is supposed to be a technical forum, right? The numbers simply do not support the notion than manual dirivng is the safest option. Not by a long shot.
I am not disputing that the software and hardware problems have to be corrected, not at all. They must be without question. (And in the unintended acceleration case, the fail-safe fix is straightforward.) What I am disputing is the idea that automation, and even the ultimate autonomous vehicle, is something that has to be dreaded.
Take a look at the unintended acceleration statistics, then take a look at annual traffic related fatalities or just accidents. The former might add up to dozens in 5 or 10 years. The latter add up to multiple tens of thousands of deaths per year, and who knows how many hundreds of thousands of accidents PER YEAR. In the US alone.